Uber-Fast Weeknight Meals

Uber-Fast Weeknight Meals

As my due date approaches, I get more and more nervous about how my meal planning will change. Right now, I usually cook dinner during Caleb’s nap. But will that still be possible once the baby arrives? Perhaps for a little while. However, I also know I’ll be exhausted and not wanting to cook much. I tent to push myself too far and cook meals that take too long and/or are more complex when I know I should be relaxing more…or at least that’s what my hubby tells me. But, I love cooking and coming up with delicious new meals - and I tend to frown upon pre-made things since I feel they aren’t as good for you (ugh, I hate that I wrote that, but it’s true - it just sounds so hoity toity. Goodness, I hope I’m not really hoity toity!).

On top of that, I’m terrible at taking it easy. I go-go-go until I drop. Oh sure, it’s productive, but by the end of the day I’m just plain pooped. Sooo, I’ve been trying to think up ideas of healthy, yet tasty meals. I thought you might be interested in what I’ve come up with so far.

For starters, I created a new Pinterest board titled, “Dinner: Uber Quick & Easy” (<— click the link to get to the Pinterest board). I’ve been saving some tasty looking meals to it. The Trader Joe’s hacks intrigue me. The one that grabs my attention the most is the Sweet Potato Gnocchi With Spicy Chicken Sausage and Mushrooms. I will definitely be making a trip to Trader Joe’s and stocking up on some items for when baby arrives.

Anyway, you should peruse my board. if you have any suggestions, please share! Now, for the ideas I’ve come up with so far on my own:

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Checking it Out: Brewers Row

Checking it Out: Brewers Row

The motivation for my Red Elm and the Antique Sandwich Co. reviews was that they were known in my "mom circles" as places for kids. Brewer's Row, however, isn't widely talked about as a place for kids. However, my experience there with my son, Caleb, have been great. It's casual and fast which make for a fun place to grab a bite to eat if you have little ones. Let's taco (I mean talk) about it. 

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Tacoma Take-Out Favorites

Tacoma Take-Out Favorites

Before having Caleb, Josh and I loved to dine out. Not always fancy, but just for some good grub on the weekends. I guess you could call us foodies. I really do enjoy cooking and baking at home, but I also really enjoy eating out. It is a nice break from the kitchen, it's fun to eat delicious foods (especially things you can't/don't make at home), and it can often inspire your inner chef. A good mix of eating out and eating in would be our style...pre-kids. 

However, now that we have a kid, eating out is way, way, way less frequent. It's hard to work it in with naps and bedtime and can be tough to keep the kiddo entertained and quiet while you eat. I often find myself overly involved with the kid and not really paying attention to what I am eating. This sort of defeats the purpose for me in some ways. I like to savor and enjoy my food. We could take turns, Josh and I, with one managing Caleb while the other chows down; however, then you're not really eating together.  

We still attempted to keep our eating out style while Caleb was a baby, and it worked until he was about five months old, then it just stopped working. He stopped sleeping on-to-go as much and eating out became a challenge. We had to adjust our eating out lifestyle. So, we turned to take-out. I cook all week, so our little treat is to get take-out Friday and/or Saturday. We put Caleb down for bed, and then we enjoy our take-out meal together. Not quite the same, but still enjoyable. 

Top 11 (why stop at 10?) Tacoma Take-out Restaurants…

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5 Easy Week Night Meals in a Bowl

5 Easy Week Night Meals in a Bowl

The age-old question: What's for dinner? It's a tough one. It was hard when I worked and didn't have a child, and it's hard when I don't work but have a child. I think everyone can relate to the challenge of getting a delicious, healthy meal on the table in a timely manner during the week. If you find it easy, then by all means comment and let us know your secret. ;) 

Also, you may be wondering, why in a bowl? I ask you this, why not in a bowl? Josh and I were talking about it, and we eat the majority of our meals from a bowl. It's just so handy - everything goes one dish, it's easy to scoop up the food, and each bite is exciting. Forever we used small bowls and realized it just wasn't big enough. We're hungry people! We got these bowls from Cost Plus World Market, and they are perfect. 

I have my meal planning method that I'll share some time with you. For now, in short, I plan everything over the weekend, grocery shop on Sunday, make most of the meal during nap time each day and finish up (or heat up) the dinner in the evening. It makes nap time busy, but it's worth it at the end of the day for me. 

For today, I've collected five favorite bowl meals that I make regularly. And five meals will get you through one work week (yay for math)! I do enjoy cooking, but I haven't mastered creating recipes. However, I do feel as though I'm good at finding recipes. I am mostly a true-to-recipe follower, but I do make adjustments based on ease of ingredients, my own likes/dislikes, and whatnot. I've shared what I do differently in case you'd like to try it my way.

Oh, and I get like 98% of my recipes from bloggers. Check out the sources for my recipes - I love all these blogs. Ready? Let's go.

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Checking it Out: Red Elm

Checking it Out: Red Elm

I’m back with another "Checking it Out" post where I go to restaurants and tell you about my experience. In case you missed it, my first one, it was on the Antique Sandwich Company. This time we headed to Red Elm. I feel like this place did a good job marketing to families because most of my mom friends associate this place as a kid-friendly cafe. It opened in spring 2017, and we’ve been a couple of times. I would say our last visit when we went so I could write this post, was our best experience yet. Here are the deets. 

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Checking it Out: Antique Sandwich Co.

Checking it Out: Antique Sandwich Co.

Welcome to my series, "Checking it Out." I'm checking out places, so you don't have to.

...Unless you want to. That's cool, too. 

For moms, finding a restaurant or shop that is accommodating to kids is like finding the Holy Grail of places. We are always searching for the place where both mom and kid can be happy. These rare, but beautiful places are perfect for meeting friends or just getting a change of pace from the house. With the winters here in the Pacific Northwest, we need awesome indoor activities because there are only so many puddles to jump in (and so much patience a mom has in getting completely drenched). Or, you can have my kid that doesn't like being cold, but doesn't like to wear a jacket either. Ugh!

I often find myself searching online for this Holy Grail of a place--always hoping a new place has opened or maybe the search this time will uncover something new. Or, if I hear "mom talk" about a potential place, I want to see if it'll truly be great before I actually go. Why? Because getting out of the house is a CHORE. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but you have to corral the kid from running around the house, put on socks and shoes, get them in the car seat, go back in the house to grab them a snack because you forgot, drive to the place often with a whining kid in the back, get out of the car, put socks and shoes back on (remind me, why did I put them on at home again?), and then get them inside. Given this, I like to do some research before I go. Sadly, though, you don't often find all the information you want. For instance, I want to see what food/drink options are available, what exactly is kid-friendly about this place, photos (hopefully of someone with a happy kid), cleanliness, and does it look like a fun place to chill for a bit.

Let me introduce you to, "Checking it Out." Yup, I'm going to do my best to give you the 4-1-1 all the hot kid spots (oh 4-1-1, did you ever used to use that number? Did I just age myself there?). The caveat: 99% of the time, I'm with my son, so the photos aren't perfection and my brain will be split between evaluating the place in the moment and keeping an eye on my son. 

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